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Arch Physiol Biochem. 1999 Feb;107(1):50-4.

Influence of age and sex in serum osteocalcin levels in thoroughbred horses.

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Department of Animal Physiology, School of Veterinary Medicine University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.


In this study, we assessed the potential value of free serum osteocalcin or bone gla protein (BGP), the most abundant non collagenous matrix protein found in bone and dentin, to reflect changes of bone turnover in thoroughbred horses. Levels of osteocalcin were analyzed in serum samples of 54 clinically normal animals divided into three groups (A, B, C) according to age: 8, 16-18 and 24-36 months, in order to determine the standard for young horses of different age and sex. Serum BGP was measured by an in-house developed double antibody radioimmunoassay using bovine antigen. The mean BGP levels (ng/ml) were 45.65 +/- 11.69; 33.65 +/- 16.65; 15.08 +/- 6.70 respectively for groups A, B and C; statistically significant differences were found between groups (A vs B and C; Bvs C). Difference between males and females was found significant in group C with higher values in the females: 18.75 +/- 5.00 against 14.43 +/- 10.47 i n the males. This can be considered a sex related effect on BGP serum levels after the onset of puberty. Correlation coefficient between age and serum BGP for females and males were r 5 20.598 ( P < 0.001) and r 5 200.807 (P < 0.001) respectively. A significant negative linear relationship could be established between these two parameters in males during the growth period. The regression equation between serum BGP and age for males was (month of age = 65.14-1.68. BGP). In the female group the gestation and lactation are variables that lower the correlation coefficient between age and serum BGP levels. These results suggest that serum BGP decreases in thoroughbred horses during the growth period, and significant differences between sexes were found only after the onset of puberty.

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